Create A Great LinkedIn Profile To Help Get You Noticed#linkedin by July 09, 2016
How to create a great LinkedIn profile? That is a common question asked when one starts to begin the journey of creating a strong personal brand. Your professional social network is one of the primary ways people see who you are. It is the doormat for your brand. Just like having nice landscaping and a nice paint job builds your home’s curb appeal, your LinkedIn profile is the first impression others have. Make it a good one. The good news is there are simple things you can focus on to build this profile and start branding yourself to the world. Follow these steps and you will be well on your way.
- Complete your profile
- It sounds like a no-brainer, but having a complete LinkedIn profile is table stakes. Not having all of the priamry components populated is like having a resume without information about your work history. First and foremost you should ensure that you fill your work experience, both in completeness and accuracy. Secondly, ensure you have a high-quality, professional photograph to accompany your profile. One of the most important areas of a LinkedIn presence many overlook is the summary. This should be complete and compelling. It may have the biggest impact on ensuring you show up in searches. Besides some common sense things you should follow, you should also make sure you are active in your profile. LinkedIn is a social network afterall. Be social. Ensure that you are creating and sharing interesting content with your network. Each of these components are imporant and should be paid attention to to ensure you get the most of your profile.
- Include a professional photo
- Your photo is the one thing that will stand out above all else about your profile, make it count. Your photo should be professional above all else. Dress in a manner that is consistent with the brand you are trying to project. Think about how you would dress if you were giving a presentation to a client or having an interview at a firm. That should be how you dress in your LinkedIn profile picture. Stay away from pics that have other objects in them that take away from you. The background should be paid attention to as well. Quality and clarity should be top of mind as well. Ensure the photo is well-lit and in focus. One of your safest bets is to spend a little bit of money and have a professional photographer take pics. They will have an eye for creating a compelling image that is sharp and present you in the best light. No pun intended.
- Write a compelling summary
- The summary is the most important part of your profile. This is the part that you can openly describe who you are, what you've done and what you want to be known for. Basically it is the part that you can define your personal brand. Before you write the summary, think about what your brand is and make the summary align with that. This section should be written with the audience you are trying to reach in mind. Write it as though you were talking to them. Make sure to hit the highlights of what you want them to know about you. Put together your thoughts offline in a draft before saving in your account. Describe your accomplishments. What have you done? This is important to convey that you get stuff done. Describe your passions- what you care about the most. This should come across and align with your personal brand. Afterall, you want your brand to be something you care about deeply. Just like a company's brand, your personal brand should be differentiated. You want your summary to make you stand out. After you write your summary and include it in your LinkedIn profile, make it pop! LinkedIn now enables you to include media along with your text descriptions. If you have pictures or videos that compliment your personal brand include them here. Have a video of you giving a speech or launching a new product at a tradeshow? That is perfect. Whatever you do make your summary section stand out. This is what will make your LinkedIn profile sing.
- Ask for recommendations
- Anyone can talk about how great they are. It is important to blow your own horn a little bit about what you can do and what you have done. It is so much more impactful to have others honk that horn for you. You should reach out and have 5 or more of your connections write a recommendation for you. These recommenders should be comprised of mostly colleagues whom you have worked with in the past and know your work intimately. Make sure you include a description of what your personal brand is along with your request to them to write a recommendation. Ask them to key in on the areas that you are emphasizing in your brand. Also request a particular thing for them to call out. You probably have some sense of things you accomplished with them that they can write about. Don't leave it up to your contact to write anything they can think of. Give them direction. This will do two things: 1. It will make it easier on them. Don't make it harder for someone to say yes to writing your recommendation. By giving them a topic to write on you take away a lot of the pre-work they would have to do. 2. It will ensure that you get back from them what you are hoping for to help position your personal brand. Recommendations will help your profile stand out from others. Obviously, if you have any heavy hitters in your social network that would write a recommendation for you, start there.
- Share relevant content on a regular basis
- LinkedIn is a social network, which means you should be social. Don't just create a profile and let it sit idly like a resume. Engage your social network. You should do this by contributing and driving discussions. It is targeted for professionals so you don't want to post things that you would necessarily to your Facebook account. Share content that is of interest to your professional network. You can build your personal brand by sharing content that align with it. As you are reading interesting things about your profession or industry, make sure you share it with your network. If you read things others have posted on your LinkedIn timeline, take the time to engage that post with a comment. Engage.
- Share your passion
- Just like with your personal brand, make sure you show your passion. People are attracted to those that are passionate. Whatever you have a keen interest in should come across throughout your profile. You are excited about it. Make sure that visitors to your profile go away with a sense that you have a fire about you in regard to your passion. Anyone can make a list of things they are intereted in or good at. Extraordinary individuals stand out because they are engaged and passionate.
- Don't make anything up
- It should be common sense, but it deserves its own item in this list- your profile should be accurate. Don't make anything up. Only list things that you have done or are capable of doing. One of the things your brand should be built around is honesty. People do business and promote people they trust. There is no quicker way to lose someone's trust than blatantly making things up. There's not much more to add to that. Keep your profile accurate.
- Use the same tense throughout
- Make sure to use a consistent tense with every verb in each section. Most use a past tense throughout to indicate things that have been done. It is acceptable to use present tense for your current role and in the summary and past tense for jobs in your past. Whatever tense you choose to work with make sure that you are consistent throughout. There are many that will read a profile and disqualify you from consideration of working with based on little things like not paying attention to these seemingly small details. Some believe that if one can't get the little details correct they will produce work of equal quality. Ensure that you use the same tense- especially within the same section.
- In the end... Proofread
- Again, details matter. After you have gone through your profile and filled everything in, proofread for grammar and spelling mistakes. Read the profile yourself a few passes through and clean it up the best you can. Sometimes when you work with something so closely you may finish the sentence in your head with what you know you are trying to say. Because of this, it is always a good idea to have a friend or spouse read through your profile and provide feedback on ways it can be better. Be open to advise.
There are many parts to making a good LinkedIn profile that will highlight your abilities and your personal brand. Make it complete. Put your best foot forward with a professional picture. Fill out the summary. Get 5 recommendations. Engage in your social network by sharing and creating relevant content. Pay attention to the small details, like grammar, spelling and tense. These all contribute to putting together a complete picture of who you are and why you have the skills and abilities people will want to work with. Most of all, make sure you read personal branding articles to learn all you can to help you get noticed.